Should Psychologists in Washington State Have the Ability to Prescribe Psychotropic & Psychiatric Medications?
Right now, legislators in Washington state are considering a bill that would expand psychologist scope of practice.
HB 1041 will be considered on January 13, 2023, by the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness. It would provide psychotropic and psychiatric medication prescribing authority to psychologists after their completion of a clinical prescribing fellowship of no less than 500 clinical hours for 100 individual patients. The bill also proposes a grey area that “includes ordering and obtaining necessary laboratory tests, procedures, and diagnostic examinations.”
To justify the bill, the sponsors cite the establishment of a masters in clinical psychopharmacology program for psychologists at a local accredited institution they claim will be substantially equivalent to the education required of an advanced practice psychiatric nurse. They go on to say that five other states, the department of defense, and the Indian health service have all successfully credentialed psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications.
Psychiatric medicine is incredibly complex. Patients seeking mental healthcare deserve the experience and extensive training of a psychiatrist for skilled diagnosis, treatment and the safe prescription of psychotropic and psychiatric medications.
Washington physicians: We encourage you to contact your members of the state House of Representatives and share your expert opinion on how HB 1041 would impact medical care and patient safety.